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Selectmen Meeting News and Notes: Busa Land, Battle Green and More

The Board of Selectmen's meeting Monday, March 14.

The Board of Selectmen met Monday, March 14 in the selectmen's meeting room at the Town Office Building. Here are the highlights:

Public Comment

Two Fiske Common residents asked selectmen to defer Article 42 on the Town Meeting warrant until next year. The article proposes authorizing a sidewalk easement from the to Fiske Common, which was approved by the Board of Appeals on July 14, 1977. The abutters said they were in the process of getting lawyers to prevent “a hostile takeover” and didn’t have enough time to prepare.

Selectman Norm Cohen reminded them it was in the contracts they signed when they purchased the property and that nothing would be taken from them. They would have what was in the contract, “a walking easement.”

“If this passes we will negotiate with you,” Cohen said.

Busa Land Use Proposal Committee

David Horton presented the selectmen with the final report on the almost eight-acre parcel of land off Lowell Street. The selectmen told the audience they had just received the report on Friday and would hold a later meeting to discuss the findings.

Horton urged the audience to read the report in its entirety to learn how BLUPC decided on the best use. After extensive research, the committee thought the land was best suited for community farming in one form or another, not suitable for a recreational field or affordable housing as had also been proposed.

BLUPC also looked at other possibilities for the site before coming to a conclusion. Those included a green cemetery, a dog walking park and a site for solar cells.

The Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to accept the report and offered the committee “our huge thank you.”

Sustainable Lexington Committee Report

Mark Sandeen, chair of Sustainable Lexington, gave a presentation to the selectmen offering proposals for Lexington’s sustainability. Sandeen noted new rainfall patterns and said the infrastructure is not designed to handle new rainfall patterns.

His conclusions included identifying houses that are “leaking heat,” supporting a pilot program with local energy companies and moving forward with a 20 x 20 residential program to reach out to homeowners and offering information, and financing programs that  help them fix leaking heat problems.

Battle Green Master Plan

Consultant Lucinda Brockaway of Past Designs and Tourism Committee Chair Dawn McKenna presented the final Battle Green Master Plan to the selectmen, which was approved 4-1. However, Selectman Deb Mauger asked that “until we get a guidance committee” the town should postpone Article 34 indefinitely. The other board members agreed.

This does not change the Community Preservation Act request for money under Article 8. The $50,000 from Article 8e for monument restoration will still be allocated. Another $50,000 for the Battle Green Master Plan (8f) is also still on the warrant.

Leary Land Task Force Update

Lester Savage and Aaron Henry, from the Leary Land Task Force, presented a status report on the Leary land at 116 Vine Street. The Task Force requested $30,000 in Community Preservation Funds to complete the existing plan, create wetland deliniation and explore the subsurface.

The site would hold affordable housing units. According to the report that was based on discussions with LexHAB and the Lexington Housing Authority, "the unit mix should comprise two- and three-bedroom units, ranging from about 900 to 1,400 square feet. In general, these are slightly larger (by about 200 square feet) than the state's minimum. To comply with federal and state fair-housing law, at least one unit will be fully accessible."

The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to go forward with a Request for Interest, or RFI.

Resignation and Appointment

Don Wilson retired from his post on LexHab. The Selectmen named Robert Burbridge as his replacement.

“Don Wilson was a longtime, very valuable member of LexHab who contributed greatly,” Cohen said following the meeting.

Town Meeting

Town Meeting begins Monday, March 21, so many of the other items on the selectmen's agenda were in preparing for the start of the meeting. 

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